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Analysis

The Quality of Human Talent Specialized in Health

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 14:34

In the last decade, medical students have shown great interest in acquiring specialized clinical knowledge that enables them to contribute to the competitiveness of the public and private health sectors. It is imperative that the authorities regulating medical education help to create an appropriate atmosphere by providing quality guidelines for academic programs.

The determination of Mexico’s human talent to begin a university degree in general medicine shows an inclination toward continual growth. This has translated into over 100,000 medical school applications yearly and around 20,000 admissions nationally. According to the Higher Education Scholastic Population Yearbook of the National Association of Universities and Higher Education Institutes (ANUIES), there were 126,296 students studying medicine across all years, of which 14,781 finished their studies and 13,084 were granted a degree during the 2015-2016 school year.

Considering these statistics, it is imperative that the leaders and visionaries of the national medical education and labor market offer the general population a catalogue of professional programs that impart quality and academic excellence at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. It is to this end that the National System of Accreditation (SNA) and the Council for the Accreditation of Higher Education (COPAES) enjoy the privilege of conferring official recognition to the organisms that accredit academic programs in Mexico.

Responsibility for accrediting academic programs specifically developed by schools and faculties of medicine at the undergraduate level falls to the Mexican Council for the Accreditation of Medical Education (COMAEM). The accreditation process focuses on a general methodology of evaluation, a benchmark and quality indicators. In March 2017, 142 schools and faculties of medicine were registered with COMAEM, 49.3 percent of which were accredited: 41 public and 29 private entities. The Mexican Association of Schools and Faculties of Medicine (AMFEM) is responsible for promoting innovation in training, care and research models that connect the local to the global. As of April 2017, there were 100 schools and faculties of medicine affiliated with AMFEM. In addition, 50 schools and faculties of medicine have been recently created, 13 of which are public while 37 are private.

At a postgraduate level, according the Interinstitutional Commission for the Training of Human Resources for Health, there are 27 medical specialties available to study in Mexico. In 2016, 7,810 students were admitted to a university course for medical specialization, according to figures from the National Examination for Applicants for Medical Residencies (ENARM). At a master’s and doctoral level, schools are adopting the philosophy of training health researchers. This is due to the curricular and methodological value of the structure of these programs. In terms of academic excellence, as of May 2017 of the 510 active medical specialization programs, 189 were accredited and recognized in the Registry of National Program of Quality Postgraduates (PNPC), which forms part of CONACYT. The practice and execution of the medical profession does not end with graduation. CONACEM administers the regulation for certification and renewal procedures, so specialists can be responsibly evaluated according to norms and procedures.

Boosting and solidifying the quality of the specialized training that human talent receives in the health sector and enhancing excellence in the provision of health services will only be possible if the problems of quality vis-a-vis medical education are addressed. Faced with a lack of quality models in medical programs and a high level of service in medical care for epidemiological diseases, the Model of Quality for Schools and Faculties of Medicine stands out. It is based on the theory of the management of quality, accreditations and rules for medical education. This methodology takes into account the five levels of an incremental quality model (beginning, development, standardization, innovation and sustainability) and it is structured with guiding principles aligned to leadership and planning, program and research design, students, integral education, facilities, links to other institutions, evaluations, continual improvement and results. The schools of medicine in Mexico are at the standardization level and, as an added value, this model can serve as a guide for improving how we position ourselves regarding innovation and sustainability.